Self-portrait

Object Details

Title:

Self-portrait

Artist/Maker(s):

Edgar Degas (French, 1834 - 1917)

Culture:

French

Date:

1857 - 1858

Medium:

Oil on paper, laid down on canvas

Dimensions:

21 x 16.2 cm (8 1/4 x 6 3/8 in.)

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In this self-portrait a young Edgar Degas turns his head to look out at the spectator. He wears casual clothes, including an open collar and broad brimmed hat. The informal, extreme close-up view of Degas's face and his impassive, almost sullen expression echo the unpretentiousness of his clothing. The small-scale, informal presentation and lightness of touch emphasize the intimacy of this image and the still-tentative character of the young artist.

Around 1857, when he was twenty-three or twenty-four, Degas traveled to Italy, where he spent much of his time making copies after Renaissance masters. The period was one of self-education and he drew prolifically, writing in one of his notebooks, "I must thoroughly realize I know nothing at all; it is the only way to get ahead." Finding in himself a willing sitter, he made fifteen or more self-portraits in various media during his time in Italy.

Provenance
- 1917

Edgar Degas, French, 1834 - 1917 (Paris, France), by inheritance to his brother, René de Gas, 1917.

René de Gas, 1845 - 1921 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Odette de Gas and Roland Nepveu.

Odette de Gas, 1887 - 1932 (Paris, France)

and Roland Nepveu, 1885 - 1962 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Arlette Nepveu-Degas.

- 1994

Arlette Nepveu-Degas Devade (Paris, France) [sold, Nepveu-Degas sale, Ader Tajan, Paris, December 19, 1994, lot 10]

- 1995

Artemis Fine Arts Ltd., sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995.

Exhibitions
Portrait Drawings 1500 - 1900 (January 30 to May 12, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 30 to May 12, 1996, (Cat. no cat.)
The Compositional Drawing from the 16th to the 19th Century (April 16 to June 30, 1996)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1996, (Cat. no cat.)
Master Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998, (Cat. no cat.)
Edgar Degas, Photographer (October 8, 1998 to August 22, 1999)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), October 8, 1998 to January 3, 1999, (Cat. ex cat.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 2 to March 28, 1999, (Cat. ex cat.)
Degas and America: The Early Collectors (March 3 to September 9, 2001)
  • High Museum of Art, (Atlanta), March 3 to May 27, 2001, (Cat. 8)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (Minneapolis), June 16 to September 9, 2001, (Cat. 8)
Degas at the Getty (March 7 to June 11, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 7 to June 11, 2006, (Cat. no cat.)
Degas: Master of French Art (December 12, 2008 to March 22, 2009)
  • National Gallery of Australia, (Canberra), December 12, 2008 to March 22, 2009, (Cat. 1)
Degas and Rembrandt: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (June 28 to May 20, 2012)
  • Rijksmuseum, (Amsterdam), June 28 to October 25, 2011, (Cat.)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), February 22 to May 20, 2012, (Cat.)
Images of the Artist (November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 15, 2011 to February 12, 2012, (Cat.)
Bibliography

Ader Tajan, Paris. Edgar Degas (1834-1917). Collection Nepveu-Degas. Important ensemble de dessins, huiles et bronze. December 19, 1994, unpaginated, lot 10, ill., cover ill.

Artemis 94-95: Consolidated Audited Annual Report (1996), pp. 30-31, no. 10, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 33, ill.

Turner, Nicholas, and Lee Hendrix. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Drawings. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 110, no. 90, ill.

Brugnara, Krista. Master Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), unpaginated, fig. 4.

Daniel, Malcolm. "The Atmosphere of Lamps or Moonlight." In Edgar Degas, Photographer, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Harry N. Abrams, 1998), pp. 34-35, fig. 16.

Turner, Nicholas. European Drawings: Catalogue of the Collections, vol. 4 (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 182-83, no. 64, ill.

Dumas, Ann, et al. Degas and America: The Early Collectors, exh. cat. (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, with Rizzoli, 2001), pp. 98-99, no. 8, ill., entry by Mary Morton.

Kinsman, Jane, and Michael Pantazzi. Degas: The Uncontested Master, exh. cat. (Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 2008), pp. 40-41, no. 1, ill., entry by Jane Kinsman.

Reynaerts, Jenny, and Stella Versluis-Van Dongen. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Edgar Degas Inspired by Rembrandt." The Rijksmuseum Bulletin 59, no. 2 (2011), pp. 118-19, fig. 14.

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